North MP calls for end to monarchy

Sunderland North MP Bill Etherington has courted controversy by calling for the head of state to be replaced by an elected president.

Sunderland North MP Bill Etherington has courted controversy by calling for the head of state to be replaced by an elected president.

Individual criticism of the Queen or other members of the Royal Family is strictly frowned on in Westminster, but the Labour MP’s remarks in a debate on House of Lords reform earned him no immediate rebuke.

"I’ll not be very popular for saying this - but just as we are going to get rid of hereditaries out of the House of Lords, which I presume we are going to do, we perhaps also should look at the monarchy," he said.

"I don’t see why we should have a head of state, who is there just by family.

"I would much prefer to see a system of an elected President because I don’t think you can talk about democracy and then compartmentalise it.

"We’ve got a democratic House of Commons, an undemocratic second chamber and an undemocratic head of state.

"That’s not a proper democratic republic. It’s not satisfactory and I hope these things will be addressed in the years ahead."

Mr Etherington was making the case for a 100% elected second chamber in the debate on Lords reform, warning that anything less would be a "constant problem".

He told the House of Commons: "Much as I like the idea of a second chamber, if we can’t have one that’s fully elected, I think I would sooner see it abolished."

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